Only now I’ve been replaced by the two boys across the street. Maybe seven and nine, they have new moves, new ideas, and they out “kid” me in every way. (I mean, hey, I’m only but so immature). They sword fight, only better. They build extravagant Lego space shuttles that put my rudimentary vehicles to shame. They don’t have jobs, so they are free to memorize the names and lines of every Star Wars villain. Simply put, I cannot compete.
Sure, it’s nice to watch him interact and play in the front yard. Last week I was returning from my walk with the dogs. It was around six or so, that great time in the spring where the sun is low and warm and the trees were budding and I heard the sounds of kids playing in the yard. My yard. It was a nice little moment.
“Hey buddy,” I said, getting to the driveway.
He was busy, on the swing out front. The neighbor kids were pushing him (a little too high for my taste) and he was having a blast. I nodded, knowing how the swing sort of veers back into the tree after so many times and I was worried about his head hitting the tree so I edged my way over, you know, just so that I could swoop in if something were to happen.
But my kid saw me coming, and I swear, I think he might have rolled his eyes.
“Dad, I’m fine.”
And he was fine. Completely, wonderfully, fine. SoI trudged up the driveway to the carport, where I found my wife standing there, smiling at me the way Adrian smiled at Rocky after a good pummeling. She wrapped me in a towel, rubbed my shoulders, and we commenced to what I think is considered an adult conversation.
Okay, it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but after two years of being Mr. Fun, it does feel a little like a demotion. Though it is kind of cool watching this boy—not baby, not toddler, but all boy—run and play and charge and create. And if I’m being honest, my back sort of needs a rest.